Interview Muhammad Speaks
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editor's note: The following questions are excerpted from an interview Imam Fareed Munir of Camden . New Jersey conducted with Imam Muhammad in early October.)
Q: What is Sharia?
Sharia is the interpretation of the law from Qur'anic scriptures and the Hadith, the sayings of Prophet Muham¬mad. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The law is extracted or to be applied to situations and problems.
The law, the Sharia, differs from geographic regions, from time to time, because of the different kinds of situa¬tions and problems that develop in different regions at dif¬ferent times. So, I would say "Sharia" is an extraction of principles and laws, etc. to be applied to problems that will arise in the life of the people. It requires a person with a good understanding of the word of God, Qur'an and the Sunnah, the life and Hadith, the teachings and sayings of Prophet Muhammad. I would advise against just taking the Sharia that have been formed by the (schools of thought) without any reservation. I would be strongly against that.
I hope that in time, a school of thought in sharia will develop here, in the west, in America.
Q: Could you define the position of trustee, that was in¬stituted some time ago, if there's such a position. What relationship should the trustee have with the believers and the resident Imam?
A: Actually, there is no position of trustee. But whoever holds a position of trust, that responsibility is one of trust. So they can be called a trustee.
Q: Is there a need for ratification of Imams, as long as there is a way for the community to show their support for the Imam?
A: The only thing necessary, in my opinion, is that the people have the chance to vote on the Imam continuing in office yearly (if they require it). But as long as the support is good and the people are not .requiring that the Imam be affirmed in his position, that his position be established again. I don't think it's necessary. We did it a while back, but of course, there were conditions that made me think that it should be done. But now from most of the Masajid, I know, and the Imams, I think their relationship with their people is such, that if their people have problems, their people would bring those problems to their attention. And it's not necessary in my opinion (to have that idea of ratification).
Q: Should there be, or do you recommend a dress code for youth in reference to sports, etc. And your opinion on youth's unities, dances?
A: In reference to sports: I think we should follow the Sunnah. That is, that in public the males, if they are 12 years or more, should have at least a cover going below the knee and up to the breast. That is covering the stomach too. It should be covered.
Q: What about the sisters?
A: All the way covered.
Q: And your opinion on youth unities, youth dances?
A: Yes, as long as they are supervised by Muslims who practice their faith, who practice their religion and are known to be good Muslims by the local people. Then if they have couples supervising them — it doesn't have to be a couple — just a man and a woman supervising them. If they are married people, that would be good.